Thursday, December 31, 2009

Thought for Today

"The global political class has always suffered from an excess of immaturity, but every generation or so, political immaturity explodes like a star in its death throes and vaporizes everything in its vicinity."

~~~~~ Richard W. Rahn

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Thought for Today

"In the end, the explanation for this long, long war – which grows longer – doesn't lie in anything we've done but in who we are: a nation dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal and endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights. Has there ever been a doctrine more subversive to the despotisms of the world? What we in the West do, right or wrong or neither, is but an excuse for the war being waged against our civilization by a rapacious enemy. It is what we are that threatens them: a beacon. Ideas have consequences; they can spread of their own accord. That is why we are such a threat to their closed societies. It is what we represent: freedom. And freedom attracts by its very existence. Eternal vigilance, it turns out, isn't just the price of liberty but of our existence."

~~~~~ Paul Greenberg

Monday, December 28, 2009

Thought for Today

"If you were going to have open heart surgery, would you want to be operated on by a surgeon who was chosen because he had to struggle to get where he is or by the best surgeon you could find – even if he was born with a silver spoon in his mouth and had every advantage that money and social position could offer?"

~~~~~ Thomas Sowell

Thought for Today

"The world ain't going to be saved by nobody's scheme. It's fellows with schemes that got us into this mess. Plans can get you into things, but you got to work your way out."

~~~~~ Will Rogers

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Thought for Today

"The economic freedom which is the prerequisite of any other freedom cannot be the freedom from economic care, which the socialists promise us and which can be obtained only by relieving the individual at the same time of the necessity and of the power of choice; it must be the freedom of our economic activity which, with the right of choice, inevitably also carries the risk and the responsibility of that right."

~~~~~ Friedrich Hayek (1899-1992)

Thought for Today

"Give to us clear vision that we may know where to stand and what to stand for – because unless we stand for something, we shall fall for anything."

~~~~~ Peter Marshall

Friday, December 25, 2009

Thought for Today

"The only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilized community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others. His own good, either physical or moral, is not a sufficient warrant."

~~~~~ John Stuart Mill (1806-1873), "On Liberty" (1859)

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Thought for Today

" the lexicon of the political class, the word 'sacrifice' means that the citizens are supposed to mail even more of their income to Washington so that the political class will not have to sacrifice the pleasure of spending it."

~~~~~ George Will – "Newsweek," 2/22/93

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Thought for Today

"We are a nation that has a government – not the other way around. And this makes us special among the nations of the earth. Our government has no power except that granted to it by the people. It is time to check and reverse the growth of government, which shows signs of having grown beyond the consent of the governed."

~~~~~ Ronald Reagan

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Thought for Today

"When anyone asks me how I can best describe my experience in nearly forty years at sea, I merely say, uneventful. Of course there have been winter gales, and storms and fog and the like. But in all my experience, I have never been in any accident...of any sort worth speaking about. I have seen but one vessel in distress in all my years at sea. I never saw a wreck and never have been wrecked nor was I ever in any predicament that threatened to end in disaster of any sort."

~~~~~ E. J. Smith, 1907
            (Captain, RMS Titanic)

Monday, December 21, 2009

Thought for Today

"Conservatism is the political belief that best mirrors human nature across time and space; but because its precepts are sometimes tragic and demand responsibility rather than ever-expanding rights, it requires adept communicators – not triangulators and appeasers whose pleasure is only for the moment."

~~~~~ Victor Davis Hanson

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Thought for Today

"Now, where do some of these attacks originate? They're coming from the very people whose past policies, all done in the name of compassion, brought us the current recession. Their policies drove up inflation and interest rates, and their policies stifled incentive, creativity and halted the movement of the poor up the economic ladder. Some of their criticism is perfectly sincere. But let's also understand that some of their criticism comes from those who have a vested interest in a permanent welfare constituency and in government programs that reinforce the dependency of our people. Well, I would suggest that no one should have a vested interest in poverty or dependency, that these tragedies must never be looked at as a source of votes for politicians or paychecks for bureaucrats. They are blights on our society that we must work to eliminate, not institutionalize."

~~~~~ Ronald Reagan

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Thomas Jefferson on Global Warming

"Man, once surrendering his reason, has no remaining guard against absurdities the most monstrous, and like a ship without rudder, is the spot of every wind. With such persons, gullibility, which they call faith, takes the helm from the hand of reason and the mind becomes a wreck."

~~~~~ Thomas Jefferson, letter to James Smith, December 8, 1822

Friday, December 18, 2009

Thought for Today

"People are tired of wasteful government programs and welfare chiselers, and they're angry about the constant spiral of taxes and government regulations, arrogant bureaucrats, and public officials who think all of mankind's problems can be solved by throwing the taxpayers' dollars at them." ++ "Government can't tax things like businesses or corporations, it can only tax people. When it says it's going to 'make business pay,' it is really saying it is going to make business help it collect taxes." ++ "We don't have a trillion-dollar debt because we haven't taxed enough; we have a trillion-dollar debt because we spend too much." ++ "Our tax policy is engineered by people who view tax as a means of achieving changes in our social structure." ++ "Raising taxes will slow economic growth, reduce production, and destroy future jobs, making it more difficult for those without jobs to find them and more likely that those who now have jobs could lose them." ++ "My friends, history is clear: Lower tax rates mean greater freedom, and whenever we lower the tax rates, our entire nation is better off."

~~~~~ Ronald Reagan (1911-2004)

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Thought for Today

"The difference between death and taxes is death doesn't get worse every time Congress meets."

~~~~~ Will Rogers (1879-1935)

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Thought for Today

“The most dangerous myth is the demagoguery that business can be made to pay a larger share, thus relieving the individual. Politicians preaching this are either deliberately dishonest, or economically illiterate, and either one should scare us. Business doesn’t pay taxes, and who better than business to make this message known? Only people pay taxes, and people pay as consumers every tax that is assessed against a business. Begin with the food and fiber raised in the farm, to the ore drilled in a mine, to the oil and gas from out of the ground, whatever it may be – through the processing, through the manufacturing, on out to the retailer’s license. If the tax cannot be included in the price of the product, no one along that line can stay in business.”

~~~~~ Ronald Reagan

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Thought for Today

"It's because somebody knows something about it that we can't talk about physics. It's the things that nobody knows anything about we can discuss."

~~~~~ Richard Feynman

Monday, December 14, 2009

Thought for Today

"The quality of a person's life is in direct proportion to their commitment to excellence, regardless of their chosen field of endeavor."

~~~~~ Vince Lombardi (1913-1970)

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Doctor Zero on Climategate

Over at Hot Air, there's an outstanding new post by Doctor Zero in the form of an open letter to the Warmist True Believers, A Memo To The Global Warming Cult. Here's how it begins:
Dear global warming fanatics,

Please. Stop. You’re embarrassing yourselves. Take a deep breath, and try to understand what has happened to you during the past month. You need to accept that your dreams of global domination are over. Increasingly shrill attempts to terrify the masses into ignoring Clima[te]gate are only making you look foolish. The con job you’ve been running for the last thirty years is busted forever.

I know this is difficult for you to accept. Things seemed to be going well. You’ve got the cap-and-trade bill lurking over the United States, ready to shatter an already weakened economy plagued with unemployment problems, and effectively end America’s role as a dominant industrial power. Your beliefs have been instituted in public schools as the official state religion, whose rituals and incantations are forced upon millions of school children. The wealthy royalty of popular culture is pleased to produce an endless string of movies, music, and television programming to market your beliefs. Your critics were marginalized to the point where the presidential candidate from the 2000 Democrat ticket felt comfortable referring to them as Nazis.

By all means read the whole thing.

Thought for Today

"There is scarecely anything in the world that some man cannot make a little worse, and sell a little more cheaply. The person who buys on price alone is this man's lawful prey."

~~~~~ John Ruskin (1819-1900)

Saturday, December 12, 2009

It's a Climategate Christmas

Here's the latest from Minnesotans for Global Warming.

Thought for Today

"The government has no source of revenue, except the taxes paid by the producers. To free itself – for a while – from the limits set by reality, the government initiates a credit con game on a scale which the private manipulator could not dream of. It borrows money from you today, which is to be repaid with money it will borrow from you tomorrow, which is to be repaid with money it will borrow from you day after tomorrow, and so on. This is known as 'deficit financing.' It is made possible by the fact that the government cuts the connection between goods and money. It issues paper money, which is used as a claim check on actually existing goods – but that money is not backed by any goods, it is not backed by gold, it is backed by nothing. It is a promissory note issued to you in exchange for your goods, to be paid by you (in the form of taxes) out of your future production."

~~~~~ Ayn Rand

Friday, December 11, 2009

Thought for Today

"Men have no right to put the well-being of the present generation wholly out of the question. Perhaps the only moral trust with any certainty in our hands is the care of our own time."

~~~~~ Edmund Burke

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Thought for Today

"For a successful technology, reality must take precedence over public relations, for nature cannot be fooled."

~~~~~ Richard P. Feynman

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Thought for Today

"Don't, Sir, accustom yourself to use big words for little matters."

~~~~~ Samuel Johnson (1709-1784)

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Thought for Today

"Every government is run by liars. Nothing they say should be believed."

~~~~~ I.F. Stone (1907-1989)

Monday, December 7, 2009

Imagine There's No Global Warming

Thought for Today

"Remember the generational battles twenty years ago? Remember all the screaming at the dinner table about haircuts, getting jobs and the American dream? Well, our parents won. They're out living the American dream on some damned golf course in Vero Beach, and we're stuck with the jobs and haircuts."

~~~~~ P. J. O'Rourke

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Thought for Today

"I don't like that they're not calculating anything. I don't like that
they don't check their ideas. I don't like that for anything that disagrees with an experiment, they cook up an explanation... It is precise mathematically, but the mathematics is far too difficult for the individuals that are doing it, and they don't draw their conclusions with any rigour. So they just guess."

~~~~~ Richard P. Feynman

Feynman was commenting on superstring theory, but could just as well have been describing the theory of man-made global warming.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Thought for Today

"National Health Insurance:
The compassion of the IRS
The efficiency of the Postal Service
All at Pentagon prices!!!"

~~~~~ Seen on a bumper sticker

Friday, December 4, 2009

Thought for Today

“Speak seldom, but to important subjects, except such as particularly relate to your constituents, and, in the former case, make yourself perfectly master of the subject.”

~~~~~ George Washington

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Henry Payne on Climategate

Thought for Today

“When the Forbidden Fruit was handed to Adam and Eve, they were allowed the moral choice to accept or decline. I know people who have refused to feast on the money tree. They live simply, within their means, and seem far more content than those who are trying to hoard their wealth while clinging to the ladder of ‘success,’ terrified to let go. That isn’t real living. The Puritans rightly saw that as covetousness.”

~~~~~ Cal Thomas

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Thought for Today

“During decades of researching racial and ethnic groups in countries around the world – with special attention to those who began in poverty and then rose to prosperity – I have yet to find one so preoccupied with tribalistic identity as to want to maintain solidarity with all members of their group, regardless of what they do or how they do it. Any group that rises has to have norms, and that means repudiating those who violate those norms, if you are serious. Blind tribalism means letting the lowest common denominator determine the norms and the fate of the whole group. There was a time when most blacks, like most of the Irish or the Jews, understood this common sense. But that was before the romanticizing of identity took over, beginning in the 1960s... The unanswered question is why an approach with a proven track record, not only in American society but in various other countries around the world, has been superseded by a philosophy of tribal identity overriding issues of behavior and performance. Part of the problem is the ‘multicultural’ ideology that says all cultures are equally valid. It is hard even to know what that means, much less take it seriously as a guide to living in the real world.”

~~~~~ Thomas Sowell

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Thought for Today

“Ultimately, the choice before the American people is the choice between two visions: on the one hand, the policies of limited government, economic growth, a strong defense, and a firm foreign policy; and on the other hand, policies of tax and spend, economic stagnation, international weakness and accommodation, and always, always, from them, ‘Blame America first.’ It’s the choice between the policies of liberalism or the policies of America’s political mainstream.”

~~~~~ Ronald Reagan

Monday, November 30, 2009

Thought for Today

“‘Trust me’ government asks that we concentrate our hopes and dreams on one man; that we trust him to do what’s best for us. My view of government places trust not in one person or one party, but in those values that transcend persons and parties. The trust is where it belongs—in the people. The responsibility to live up to that trust is where it belongs, in their elected leaders. That kind of relationship, between the people and their elected leaders, is a special kind of compact.”

~~~~~ Ronald Reagan

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Thought for Today

"It doesn't take a majority to make a rebellion; it takes only a few determined leaders and a sound cause."

~~~~~ H. L. Mencken

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Thought for Today

“The principle of government control over information is inseparable from the principle of government control over people's lives.”

~~~~~ James Bovard

Friday, November 27, 2009

Thought for Today

“Capitalism is the greatest system ever created for alleviating general human misery, and yet it breeds ingratitude. People ask, ‘Why is there poverty in the world?’ It’s a silly question. Poverty is the default human condition... The interesting question isn’t ‘Why is there poverty?’ It’s ‘Why is there wealth?’ Or: ‘Why is there prosperity here but not there?’ At the end of the day, the first answer is capitalism, rightly understood. That is to say: free markets, private property, the spirit of entrepreneurialism and the conviction that the fruits of your labors are your own... In large measure our wealth isn’t the product of capitalism, it is capitalism. And yet we hate it. Leaving religion out of it, no idea has given more to humanity. The average working-class person today is richer, in real terms, than the average prince or potentate of 300 years ago. His food is better, his life longer, his health better, his menu of entertainments vastly more diverse, his toilette infinitely more civilized. And yet we constantly hear how cruel capitalism is while this collectivism or that is more loving because, unlike capitalism, collectivism is about the group, not the individual... Meanwhile, billions have ridden capitalism out of poverty. And yet the children of capitalism still whine.”

~~~~~ Jonah Goldberg

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thought for Today

“When World War II ended, the United States had the only undamaged industrial power in the world. Our military might was at its peak, and we alone had the ultimate weapon, the nuclear weapon, with the unquestioned ability to deliver it anywhere in the world. If we had sought world domination then, who could have opposed us? But the United States followed a different course, one unique in all the history of mankind. We used our power and wealth to rebuild the war-ravished economies of the world, including those of the nations who had been our enemies. May I say, there is absolutely no substance to charges that the United States is guilty of imperialism or attempts to impose its will on other countries, by use of force.”

~~~~~ Ronald Reagan

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Thought for Today

“The Founding Fathers knew a government can’t control the economy without controlling people. And they knew when a government sets out to do that, it must use force and coercion to achieve its purpose. So we have come to a time for choosing. Public servants say, always with the best of intentions, ‘What greater service we could render if only we had a little more money and a little more power.’ But the truth is that outside of its legitimate function, government does nothing as well or as economically as the private sector.”

~~~~~ Ronald Reagan

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Thought for Today

"Vain-glorious men are the scorn of the wise, the admiration of fools, the idols of paradise, and the slaves of their own vaunts."

~~~~~ Francis Bacon

Monday, November 23, 2009

Thought for Today

"An unlimited power to tax involves, necessarily, a power to destroy; because there is a limit beyond which no institution and no property can bear taxation."

~~~~~ John Marshall, McCullough v. Maryland, 1819

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Thought for Today

“If an American is to amount to anything he must rely upon himself, and not upon the State; he must take pride in his own work, instead of sitting idle to envy the luck of others. He must face life with resolute courage, win victory if he can, and accept defeat if he must, without seeking to place on his fellow man a responsibility which is not theirs.”

~~~~~ Theodore Roosevelt

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Thought for Today

"You only have power over people so long as you don't take everything away from them. But when you've robbed a man of everything, he's no longer in your power – he's free again."

~~~~~ Alexander Solzhenitsyn

Friday, November 20, 2009

Thought for Today

"Facts have a cruel way of substituting themselves for fancies. There is nothing more remorseless, just as there is nothing more helpful, than truth."

~~~~~ William C. Redfield

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Thought for Today

“The goal of the ‘liberals’ – as it emerges from the record of the past decades – was to smuggle this country into welfare statism by means of single, concrete, specific measures, enlarging the power of the government a step at a time, never permitting these steps to be summed up into principles, never permitting their direction to be identified or the basic issue to be named. Thus, statism was to come, not by vote or by violence, but by slow rot—by a long process of evasion and epistemological corruption, leading to a fait accompli.”

~~~~~ Ayn Rand

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Thought for Today

"Last, but by no means least, courage, moral courage, the courage of one's convictions, the courage to see things through. The world is in a constant conspiracy against the brave. It's the age-old struggle; the roar of the crowd on one side and the voice of your conscience on the other."

~~~~~ Douglas MacArthur

Monday, November 16, 2009

Thought for Today

"A sound discretion is not so much indicated by never making a mistake, as by never repeating it."

~~~~~ John Christian Bovee

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Thought for Today

"Our elected officials don’t make America great, nor do temporal policies. America is great because of its people, its defining institutions and its freedoms."

~~~~~ Linda Chavez

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Thought for Today

"Patience and perseverance have a magical effect before which difficulties disappear and obstacles vanish."

~~~~~ John Quincy Adams

Friday, November 13, 2009

Thought for Today

"Don't interfere with anything in the Constitution. That must be maintained, for it is the only safeguard of our liberties."

~~~~~ Abraham Lincoln

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Thought for Today

"Hero worship is strongest where there is least regard for human freedom."

~~~~~ Herbert Spencer

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Thought for Today

Years ago fairy tales all began with "Once upon a time... ;" now we know they all begin with, "If I am elected..."

~~~~~ Carolyn Warner

Monday, November 9, 2009

Thought for Today

“The great enemy of clear language is insincerity. When there is a gap between one’s real and one’s declared aims, one turns as it were instinctively to long words and exhausted idioms, like a cuttlefish spurting out ink.”

~~~~~ George Orwell

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Thought for Today

"Of those men who have overturned the liberties of republics, the greatest number have begun their career by paying an obsequious court to the people, commencing demagogues and ending tyrants."

~~~~~ Alexander Hamilton (Federalist No. 1, 27 October 1787)

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Thought for Today

"Genius may have its limitations, but stupidity is not thus handicapped."

~~~~~ Elbert Hubbard

Friday, November 6, 2009

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Thought for Today

"Who overrefines his argument brings himself to grief."

~~~~~ Edgar Degas (1834-1917)

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Thought for Today

"A man's country is not a certain area of land, of mountains, rivers, and woods, but it is a principle; and patriotism is loyalty to that principle."

~~~~~ George William Curtis

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Thought for Today

"A pig ate his fill of acorns under an oak tree and then started to root around the tree. A crow remarked, `You should not do this. If you lay bare the roots, the tree will wither and die.' `Let it die,' said the pig. `Who cares so long as there are acorns?"

~~~~~ Government Fables

Monday, November 2, 2009

Thought for Today

“Before we panic about ‘global warming,’ we should take a look at six-day weather forecasts and see how much they change during those six days -- quite aside from how much they differ from what the weather actually turns out to be.”

~~~~~ Thomas Sowell

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Thought for Today

“Entry into this country – either as an immigrant or a visitor – is a privilege, not a right. The safety of our citizens must come before the comfort and convenience of foreigners.”

~~~~~ Michelle Malkin

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Thought for Today

Failures are divided into two classes – those who thought and never did, and those who did and never thought.

~~~~~ John Charles Salak

Friday, October 30, 2009

Thought for Today

"What experience and history teach is this – that nations and governments have never learned anything from history, or acted upon any lessons they might have drawn from it."

~~~~~ Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Thought for Today

“It takes a lot more integrity, character, and courage to be a conservative than it does to be a liberal. That’s because at its most basic level, liberalism is nothing more than childlike emotionalism applied to adult issues.”

~~~~~ John Hawkins

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Thought for Today

"Civilization ceases when we no longer respect and no longer put into their correct places the fundamental values, such as work, family and country; such as the individual, honor and religion."

~~~~~ R. P. Lebret

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Thought for Today

"Good people are good because they've come to wisdom through failure."

~~~~~ William Saroyan

Monday, October 26, 2009

Thought for Today

“The first virtue of all really great men is that they are sincere. They eradicate hypocrisy from their hearts.”

~~~~~ Anatole France

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Thought for Today

Imhoff's Law:
The organization of any bureaucracy is very much like a septic tank ... The really big chunks always rise to the top.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Thought for Today

"There are individuals in society whom no great crisis can lift from the deep ruts of egoism in which they are sunk."

~~~~~ Piotr Kropotkin

Friday, October 23, 2009

Thought for Today

"We fought too long and too hard to make people stop saying blacks looked alike – but I say it is a far greater evil that many people say blacks think alike."

~~~~~ Clarence Thomas, 1983

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Thought for Today

"There aren't any great men. There are just great challenges that ordinary men like you and me are forced by circumstances to meet."

~~~~~ Fleet Admiral William F. Halsey

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Thought for Today

"I place economy among the first and most important virtues, and public debt as the greatest of dangers. We must make our choice between economy and liberty, or profusion and servitude. If we can prevent the government from wasting the labor of the people, under the pretense of caring for them, they will be happy."

~~~~~ Thomas Jefferson

Monday, October 19, 2009

Thought for Today

"Sometimes it is said that man cannot be trusted with the government of himself. Can he, then, be trusted with the government of others?"

~~~~~ Thomas Jefferson

Thought for Today

"History teaches us that men and nations behave wisely when they have exhausted all other alternatives."

~~~~~ Abba Eban

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Thought for Today

"Guard with jealous attention the public liberty. Suspect everyone who approaches that jewel. Unfortunately, nothing will preserve it but downright force. Whenever you give up that force, you are inevitably ruined."

~~~~~ Patrick Henry

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Thought for Today

"He who waits to do a great deal of good at once, will never do anything."

~~~~~ Samuel Johnson

Friday, October 16, 2009

Thought for Today

"Idiot, n: A member of a large and powerful tribe whose influence in human affairs has always been dominant and controlling."

~~~~~ Ambrose Bierce, Devil's Dictionary

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Thought for Today

"A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until a majority of voters discover that they can vote themselves largess out of the public treasury."

~~~~~ Alexander Tyler, 18th century Scottish historian

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Monday, October 12, 2009

Thought for Today

"We must beware of the dangers that lie in our most generous wishes. Some paradox of our nature leads us, when once we have made our fellow men the objects of our enlightened interest, to go on to make them the objects of our pity, then of our wisdom, ultimately of our coercion."

~~~~~ Lionel Trilling

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Thought for Today

"There is good news from Washington today. Congress is deadlocked and can't act."

~~~~~ Will Rogers

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Thought for Today

"Nothing is impossible; there are ways that lead to everything, and if we had sufficient will we should always have sufficient means. It is often merely for an excuse that we say things are impossible."

~~~~~ François de La Rochefoucauld

Friday, October 9, 2009

Thought for Today

"One of life's best coping mechanisms is to know the difference between an inconvenience and a problem. If you break your neck, if you have nothing to eat, if your house is on fire – then you've got a problem. Everything else is an inconvenience. Life is inconvenient. Life is lumpy. A lump in the oatmeal, a lump in the throat and a lump in the breast are not the same kind of lump. One needs to learn the difference."

~~~~~ Robert Fulghum

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Thought for Today

"You may think that the Constitution is your security – it is nothing but a piece of paper. You may think that the statutes are your security – they are nothing but words in a book. You may think that elaborate mechanism of government is your security – it is nothing at all unless you have sound and uncorrupted public opinion to give life to your Constitution, to give vitality to your statutes, to make efficient your machinery."

~~~~~ Charles Evans Hughes

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Thought for Today

"Animals are reliable, many full of love, true in their affections, predictable in their actions, grateful and loyal. Difficult standards for people to live up to."

~~~~~ Alfred A. Montapert

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Thought for Today

"I am certain that, however great the hardships and the trials, which loom ahead, our America will endure and the cause of human freedom will triumph."

~~~~~ Cordell Hull

Monday, October 5, 2009

Thought for Today

"But society has now fairly got the better of individuality; and the danger which threatens human nature is not the excess, but the deficiency, of personal impulses and preferences."

~~~~~ John Stuart Mill

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Thought for Today

"The best thinking has been done in solitude. The worst has been done in turmoil."

~~~~~ Thomas A. Edison

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Thought for Today

"A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops."

~~~~~ Henry Brooks Adams

Friday, October 2, 2009

Thought for Today

"No one can write decently who is distrustful of the reader's intelligence, or whose attitude is patronizing."

~~~~~ E. B. White

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Thought for Today

"They have rights who dare maintain them."

~~~~~ James Russell Lowell

In Memoriam: William Safire (1929–2009)

William Safire Photo: Fred R. Conrad/The New York TimesIn memory of the great William Safire, who just passed away, here are his "Rules for Writers:"
Remember to never split an infinitive. The passive voice should never be used. Do not put statements in the negative form. Verbs have to agree with their subjects. Proofread carefully to see if you words out. If you reread your work, you can find on rereading a great deal of repetition can be avoided by rereading and editing. A writer must not shift your point of view. And don't start a sentence with a conjunction. (Remember, too, a preposition is a terrible word to end a sentence with.) Don't overuse exclamation marks!! Place pronouns as close as possible, especially in long sentences, as of 10 or more words, to their antecedents. Writing carefully, dangling participles must be avoided. If any word is improper at the end of a sentence, a linking verb is. Take the bull by the hand and avoid mixing metaphors. Avoid trendy locutions that sound flaky. Everyone should be careful to use a singular pronoun with singular nouns in their writing. Always pick on the correct idiom. The adverb always follows the verb. Last but not least, avoid cliches like the plague; seek viable alternatives.

We'll miss you, Mr. Safire. We need you now more than ever. Rest well, sir; you have earned your reward.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Thought for Today

"For this is what America is all about. It is the uncrossed desert and the unclimbed ridge. It is the star that is not reached and the harvest that's sleeping in the unplowed ground."

~~~~~ Lyndon Baines Johnson

Monday, September 28, 2009

Thought for Today

"If I have any beliefs about immortality, it is that certain dogs I have known will go to heaven, and very, very few persons."

~~~~~ James Thurber

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Thought for Today

Sound advice from a truly wise president:
"Perhaps one of the most important accomplishments of my administration has been minding my own business."

~~~~~ Calvin Coolidge

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Thought for Today

"There's no underestimating the intelligence of the American public."

~~~~~ H.L. Mencken (1880-1956)

Friday, September 25, 2009

Thought for Today

"Today's scientists have substituted mathematics for experiments, and they wander off through equation after equation, and eventually build a structure which has no relation to reality."

~~~~~ Nikola Tesla (1856-1943)

As in, say, global warming?

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Thought for Today

"For purposes of action nothing is more useful than narrowness of thought combined with energy of will."

~~~~~ Henri Frederic Amiel (1821-1881)

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Thought for Today

"The more you recognize and express gratitude for the things you have, the more things you will have to express gratitude for."

~~~~~ Zig Ziglar

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Thought for Today

"I don't make jokes. I just watch the government and report the facts."

~~~~~ Will Rogers

Monday, September 21, 2009

Thought for Today

"One of life's greatest mysteries is how the boy who wasn't good enough to marry your daughter can be the father of the smartest grandchild in the world."

~~~~~ Jewish proverb

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Thought for Today

"It was on my fifth birthday that Papa put his hand on my shoulder and said, 'Remember, my son, if you ever need a helping hand, you'll find one at the end of your arm.'"

~~~~~ Sam Levenson (1911-1980)

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Thought for Today

"A winner knows how much he still has to learn, even when he is considered an expert by others. A loser wants to be considered an expert by others before he has even learned enough to know how little he knows."

~~~~~ Sydney J. Harris

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Thought for Today

"Here comes the orator, with his flood of words and his drop of reason."

~~~~~ Benjamin Franklin

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Thought for Today

"You know when you've read a good book when you turn the last page and feel a little as if you have lost a friend."

~~~~~ Paul Sweeney

Monday, September 14, 2009

Thought for Today

"Our contest is not only whether we ourselves shall be free, but whether there shall be left to mankind an asylum on earth for civil and religious liberty."

~~~~~ Samuel Adams

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Thought for Today

"Nowhere at present is there such a measureless loathing of their country by educated people as in America."

~~~~~ Eric Hoffer

Hat tip: Thomas Sowell

Thought for Today

"Honorable: Afflicted with an impediment in one's reach. In legislative bodies, it is customary to mention all members as honorable; as, 'the honorable gentleman is a scurvy cur.'"

~~~~~ Ambrose Bierce, The Devil's Dictionary

Friday, September 11, 2009

Thought for Today

"What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly; it is dearness only that gives everything its value."

~~~~~ Thomas Paine

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Thought for Today

"I have found it advisable not to give too much heed to what people say when I am trying to accomplish something of consequence. Invariably they proclaim it can't be done. I deem that the very best time to make the effort."

~~~~~ Calvin Coolidge

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Thought for Today

"In an egalitarian world everything will be controlled by politics, and politics requires no merit."

~~~~~ P.J. O’Rourke

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Thought for Today

One man will carry two buckets of water for his own use;
Two men will carry one for their joint use;
Three men will carry none for anybody's use.

~~~~~ Chinese proverb

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Thought for Today

"No man, however strong, can serve ten years as schoolmaster, priest, or Senator, and remain fit for anything else."

~~~~~ Henry Brooks Adams

Friday, September 4, 2009

Thought for Today

"That which grows fast, withers as rapidly. That which grows slowly, endures."

~~~~~ Josiah Gilbert Holland

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Thought for Today

"The proponents of big government want to control every decision made by individuals, families, communities, and states."

~~~~~ U.S. Senator, Paul Coverdell (R- Georgia)
Chattanooga News-Free Press, June 18, 1994

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Monday, August 31, 2009

Thought for Today

"The brave and bold persist even against fortune; the timid and cowardly rush to despair though fear alone."

~~~~~ Tacitus (55-117 A.D.)

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Thought for Today

"In a free and republican government, you cannot restrain the voice of the multitude."

~~~~~ George Washington

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Mark Steyn on Teddy's Passing

As he has done so many times before, Mark Steyn says it best in his new NRO column, Airbrushing out Mary Jo Kopechne. Here's a pullquote:
He dared us to call his bluff, and, when we didn’t, he made all of us complicit in what he’d done. We are all prey to human frailty, but few of us get to inflict ours on an entire nation.
Click here to read the whole thing.

Thought for Today

"The great secret of doctors, known only to their wives, but still hidden from the public, is that most things get better by themselves; most things, in fact, are better in the morning."

~~~~~ Lewis Thomas

Friday, August 28, 2009

Thought for Today

"A bone to the dog is not charity. Charity is the bone shared with the dog, when you are just as hungry as the dog."

~~~~~ Jack London

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Thought for Today

"We may not imagine how our lives could be more frustrating and complex – but Congress can."

~~~~~ Cullen Hightower

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Mean, Cruel, and Heartless

8/26/2009 UPDATED AND BUMPED. He's finally gone to his reward – whatever it may be.

ABC News has put up an impartial account of the 1969 "incident" here: Chappaquiddick's Indiscretions Forever Tarnished.

Many are now in mourning for this moral cretin. Sorry, but I am not among them.

May God have mercy on his soul.

ORIGINAL POST 5/21/2008 8:40 PM

Amidst all of the shock and sadness, shouldn't someone have mentioned that all of the copious tears of sorrow over Edward Kennedy's brain cancer diagnosis are being shed for a murderer? Nobody else has, so I'll take on the thankless task.

I guess that makes me mean, cruel, and heartless.

Maybe I am, but on the other hand, I've never killed anybody, either.

Tell you what, though – before you decide, read this thorough, impartial account of the events of July 18, 1969, "Incident on Chappaquiddick Island," on

Sen. Edward Kennedy has already lived 39 years past the day when Mary Jo Kopechne drowned inside his car. Back in 1969, he used his family's wealth, power, and influence to escape any real punishment for his crime. Since then, he has used his position as a powerful senator to do incalculable damage to this country. The only real price that this shameless hypocrite ever paid was having to abandon his plans to run for the presidency. Perhaps it's ungracious of me to state that he's finally going to get what's been coming to him all these years, but I'm doing it anyway.

Lion of the Senate, my butt! If he had a shred of decency within him, he would have resigned from public life following the "Incident on Chappaquiddick Island." The fact that he did not speaks volumes about the man's character. The Senate, as well as the entire nation, will be much better off once he is no longer a member.

For his sake and the sake of his family, I only hope that his death, when it comes, will be swift and painless. Certainly, he will not have to suffer anything like the prolonged agony and horror that Mary Jo Kopechne must have suffered as she fought for her life inside his submerged Oldsmobile.

UPDATED: Finally, someone is telling the truth about the record of this despicable excuse for a man. Michael Savage has posted "The Real Kennedy Record" on his website, along with a short opinion piece, "The Real Ted Kennedy," by his show's producer, Beowulf Rochlen.

Read through the list of Kennedy's "accomplishments," then decide whether he is really deserving of this massive national outpouring of sympathy and sorrow.

My first instinct was correct. As a fellow human being, I'm sorry that Kennedy has been struck with an incurable and fatal brain cancer. But at the same time, as a patriotic American, I'm overjoyed that the U.S. Senate will soon have to pull itself together and learn how to function without him.

Thought for Today

"He who attacks the fundamentals of the American broadcasting industry attacks democracy itself."

~~~~~ William S. Paley

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Thought for Today

"During my eighty-seven years I have witnessed a whole succession of technological revolutions. But none of them has done away with the need for character in the individual or the ability to think."

~~~~~ Bernard M. Baruch

Monday, August 24, 2009

Thought for Today

"A winner hopes for a miracle after everything else has failed. A loser hopes for a miracle before anything has been tried."

~~~~~ Sydney J. Harris

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Thought for Today

"When thought is too weak to be simply expressed, it's clear proof that it should be rejected."

~~~~~ Luc de Clapiers

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Thought for Today

"Use what talents you possess; the woods would be very silent if no birds sang there except those that sang best."

~~~~~ Henry Van Dyke

Friday, August 21, 2009

Thought for Today

"My kind of loyalty was loyalty to one's country, not to its institutions or its officeholders. The country is the real thing, the substantial thing, the eternal thing; it is the thing to watch over, and care for, and be loyal to; institutions are extraneous."

~~~~~ Mark Twain

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Thought for Today

"He who labors diligently need never despair; for all things are accomplished by diligence and labor."

~~~~~ Menander of Athens

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Thought for Today

"Politics should be the part-time profession of every citizen."

~~~~~ Dwight D. Eisenhower

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Thought for Today

"Posterity: you will never know how much it has cost my generation to preserve your freedom. I hope you will make good use of it."

~~~~~ John Quincy Adams

Monday, August 17, 2009

Mark Steyn Hits Another Grand Slam

Mark Steyn has got to be one of the most consistently great writers on the planet. Here's the beginning of his latest must-read column, this one on the subject of American health care, You’ve Had a Good Innings:
Some years ago, when I was a slip of a lad, I found myself commiserating with a distinguished American songwriter about the death of one of his colleagues. My 23-year-old girlfriend found all the condolence talk a bit of a bummer and was anxious to cut to the chase and get outta there. “Well,” she said breezily. “He had a good innings. He was 85.”

“That’s easy for you to say,” he said. “I’m 84.”

That’s where Obamacare leads: You’re 84, and it’s easy for him to say. Easy for him to say what you need — or don’t need. Relax, he assured an audience of puffball-lobbing plants in Portsmouth, N.H. . . . By the way, when I mock “puffball-lobbing plants,” obviously all such events are stage-managed, but the trick is to make it not quite so obvious. When Nixon was campaigning in ’68, Roger Ailes used to let a couple of dirty no-good long-haired peaceniks into the room so his candidate could swat ‘em down: It ginned up the crowd, made for better TV, and got the candidate pumped. “Thought it went well tonight,” he’d say. “Really socked it to those hippies.” In essence, Ailes stage-managed it to look un-stage-managed. If those who oppose Obamacare are merely a bunch of “un-American” “evil-mongers” (according to, respectively, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid), the cause would benefit from allowing the president to really sock it to a couple of them once in a while. To retreat behind a wall of overly drooling sycophants does not help Obama at this stage in the game.

A little later in the piece, Mark characterizes the British health care system thus:
In Britain, they use a “Quality-Adjusted Life Year” formula to decide that you don’t really need that new knee because you’re gonna die in a year or two, maybe a decade-and-a-half tops. So it’s in the national interest for you to go around hobbling in pain rather than divert “finite resources” away from productive members of society to a useless old geezer like you.

As with pretty much everything Mark writes, you'll want to read the whole thing.

In Memoriam: Les Paul

Les Paul (June 9, 1915 – August 13, 2009)

Mary Ford (July 7, 1924 – September 30, 1977)

Thought for Today

"Our contest is not only whether we ourselves shall be free, but whether there shall be left to mankind an asylum on earth for civil and religious liberty."

~~~~~ Samuel Adams (1722-1793)

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Dr. Alex Lickerman: A Prescription for the Health Care Crisis

Dr. Alex Lickerman, practicing physician and blogger extraordinaire, has just written A Prescription for the Health Care Crisis. I enthusiastically recommend it for anyone with an interest in health care reform. In particular, I think it should be required reading for all of our U.S. Senators and Representatives.

Here's how it begins:
With all the shouting going on about America’s health care crisis, many are probably finding it difficult to concentrate, much less understand the cause of the problems confronting us. I find myself dismayed at the tone of the discussion (though I understand it—people are scared) as well as bemused that anyone would presume themselves sufficiently qualified to know how to best improve our health care system simply because they’ve encountered it, when people who’ve spent entire careers studying it (and I don’t mean politicians) aren’t sure what to do themselves.

Albert Einstein is reputed to have said that if he had an hour to save the world he’d spend 55 minutes defining the problem and only 5 minutes solving it. Our health care system is far more complex than most who are offering solutions admit or recognize, and unless we focus most of our efforts on defining its problems and thoroughly understanding their causes, any changes we make are just likely to make them worse as they are better.

Though I’ve worked in the American health care system as a physician since 1992 and have seven year’s worth of experience as an administrative director of primary care, I don’t consider myself qualified to thoroughly evaluate the viability of most of the suggestions I’ve heard for improving our health care system. I do think, however, I can at least contribute to the discussion by describing some of its troubles, taking reasonable guesses at their causes, and outlining some general principles that should be applied in attempting to solve them.
By all means, go read the whole thing.

For what it's worth, I did, then left Alex this comment:
Alex, this is an excellent, thoughtful, apolitical discussion that ought to be required reading for all of our U.S. Senators and Representatives. Perhaps a few of them would get the message that the subject of health care is far more complicated and interdependent that they realize. Therefore, they need to tread very, very carefully – because any well-meaning “reforms” they enact are far more likely to result in adverse unintended consequences than in real improvements.

Indeed, Congress’ past track record is replete with examples of laws passed with the best of intentions, but that nevertheless ended up causing far more, and in many cases, far more serious, problems than they solved. As just one recent example, consider the case of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA). One year ago, it was enacted with the universally approved aim of stopping the importation of dangerous lead-laced toys from China. Only later did we learn that among its myriad other unintended side effects, the law also bans the distribution of children’s books printed before 1985.

CPSIA was intentionally written in such a manner as to give the Consumer Product Safety Commission no discretion in determining whether or not the law applies to a given situation. At the same time, its specific requirements are so nebulous that in reality, the specific requirements of the law are, basically, whatever the Commission says they are. The perverse end result is to make it impractical or impossible for thousands of small, specialized companies with limited resources to remain in the business of furnishing low-volume items intended for children, while rewarding the very same huge, big-box store chains that caused the problem in the first place by importing cheap junk from China – since they are the only ones with sufficiently deep pockets to comply with the new law.

Oddly enough, the exact same House committee chairman, Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA), who is primarily responsible for the disastrous, gotcha-filled CPSIA is also the prime mover behind the House health care reform bill, as well as the even more disastrous cap-and-trade measure already approved by the House, but thankfully not yet passed by the Senate.

In view of their abysmal record, why should we have any confidence that Rep. Waxman and his myrmidons will do a better job with the infinitely more complex task of health care reform than they did with the CPSIA and the cap-and-trade bill? On the contrary, it seems to me that we would be well-advised to keep these arrogant know-it-alls as far away from our health care as possible.

Thought for Today

"Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There never was a democracy yet that did not commit suicide."

~~~~~ John Quincy Adams

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Thought for Today

"The ultimate consequence of protecting men from the results of their own folly is to fill the world with fools."

~~~~~ Herbert Spencer

Friday, August 14, 2009

Mark Steyn Gives Away the End Game

Mark Steyn deftly addresses the nature and purpose of Obama's approach in Untangling the Spaghetti:
"That’s where all the poor befuddled sober centrists who can’t understand why the Democrats keep passing incoherent 1,200-page bills every week are missing the point. If 'health care' were about health care, the devil would be in the details. But it’s not about health or costs or coverage; it’s about getting over the river and burning the bridge."
Not exactly the "Hope" and "Change" they voted for, is it?

Before he has finished his first (and, Lord willing, only) term, Barack Hussein Obama will most assuredly have succeeded in one unintended endeavor: he will have replaced Jimmy Carter as the most stunningly incompetent president in our nation's history. Meanwhile, let us do all we can to prevent him from getting over that river.

Rich Lowry Nails It

In his latest column, Rich Lowry flawlessly articulates the phenomenon we've all been seeing ... and catalyzing: On Health Care, a Populist Revolt. Here are the first few paragraphs:
The best moment of almost every YouTube video of the raucous town-hall meetings on health care is the same: It’s the nonplussed look on the face of the senators and congressmen who have rarely suffered such indignity. Be assured: No one talks to them that way in the “members only” elevators in the U.S. Capitol.

Nancy Pelosi and Co. insist that the town-hall protesters are the tools of special interests. Not likely. Almost all of the special interests have been enticed or bullied into cooperating with Obamacare. The alphabet soup of major players on health-care policy is basically on board — PhRMA (the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America), the AMA (American Medical Association), the AHA (American Hospital Association), AHIP (America’s Health Insurance Plans), and the AARP (American Association of Retired Persons).

Pres. Barack Obama and the Democrats may still imagine themselves insurgents storming the gates, but that self-image should have expired last November. On health care, they have played a brilliant inside game. They have used their sheer power to cut deals with craven lobbyists seeking to limit damage to their clients. Everything was set for a cram-down of sweeping legislation — with special interests uttering hardly a peep — before August in a well-executed power play.

Then public opinion intervened. Obama is now on the wrong side of a genuine grass-roots revolt by people who feel ignored by everyone who is supposed to be representing them.
To read the rest, go here.

Ronald Reagan Speaks Out on Socialized Medicine

Thought for Today

"The right to be left alone is indeed the beginning of all freedom."

~~~~~ Justice William O. Douglas

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Thought for Today

"Let us not be content to wait and see what will happen, but give us the determination to make the right things happen."

~~~~~ Peter Marshall

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Be Careful What You Wish For ...

Hugh Hewitt occasionally receives and reprints an email from an anonymous correspondent – an advertising executive who uses the nom de email "Bear in the Woods." Yesterday's, On Canadian Health Care --From "Bear in the Woods", was particularly insightful. Its author encourages others to pass it along, and I'm privileged to honor his request.
This isn't about advertising. It's about experience. Some of which, I feel I have to share. If you think it's worth it, please forward this post, or cut and paste it, and email it. may end up on a "fishy" list, but, whatever. It's too important not to share. And it's the true story of some of my experiences. I'm not a doctor, and I don't play one on tv. I don't know all the proper terms for what I'm about to describe. But I do know what happened, because I was there.

My wife is Canadian. So are my kids. The kids are American, too -- they have US Birth Abroad papers, and yes, they have birth certificates. They have passports from both countries. I met my wife while shooting in Vancouver. She didn't want to leave just because we were getting married, so i lived there for 3 years. Those three years changed my views about a lot of things. Health care is one.

I went into it with an open mind. After all, I'm not Canadian, so i wasn't paying for it. I paid if I needed to go to the doctor. The prices were really low, because they were government-subsidized. One pretty big emergency room visit for a kidney stone cost me CDN $500. Not bad, in comparison. Of course, Canadians picked up the rest of my tab. Boy, did they ever.

One of the reasons I never became a Landed Immigrant (Canadian equivalent of a Green Card) was because I didn't want Revenue Canada near my paycheck. My business was in the US, and the IRS is plenty, thank you. Back then, which was almost 10 years ago, I think it was CDN $35,000 or so that was the beginning of the 50% bracket. (I do not know if that number is accurate. It could be higher. But it's really, REALLY low, compared to our highest threshold.) Now, add Provincial (state) income tax to that. Note that you cannot deduct any mortgage interest, or much of anything, from either. Then add a national GST (Goods and Services Tax) to everything you buy. On top of that, add PST (Provincial Sales Tax) to everything you buy. AND add special provincial and local taxes to purchases of special things, which aren't, typically, all that special, and actually cover a lot of the things you buy. One special thing, for instance, is gasoline. I just got off the phone with my brother-in-law, who can't remember, exactly, but he thinks gas is about $1.09 right now in Vancouver. That's for a liter of gasoline. A LITER. Which would make it over $4.00 a gallon. And that's not too bad, these days, he says. If you smoke (I don't), the tobacco taxes will kill you before cancer will.

So, what do all those taxes buy you, in the form of health care? Well, let's talk about that kidney stone I had. If you've ever had one, you know immediately why I went to the emergency room. As it turns out, growing up in Florida, and as a member of my particular family, means I'm predisposed to more. Looking forward to that. Anyway, this one was my first one, and it hurt worse than anything had ever hurt. I didn't see a doctor at the ER, but the nurse (or PA - I don't know for sure) was able to give me some Darvocet, and a prescription for more. I also got an appointment with a urologist for the following week, which was a fast-track exception, because I was a foreigner. A week later, still a bit dazed from a growing Darvocet habit, I got to see the guy, who was really nice, and was hoping to move to the US to practice, so he could make a decent living. He told me I'd probably pass the stone, and would simply need to take the Darvocet until I did. If, however, I didn't pass it in about a week, they'd have to think about breaking it up with ultrasound. I'd heard about this from my dad. Apparently, it's pretty quick, and totally painless -- the machine breaks up the stone into small bits with sound waves, and you pass the bits easily. Most US hospitals, and a lot of clinics, have a machine to do this. The only hitch? In all of BC, there's one machine. This is a place about 125% bigger than Texas. Vancouver is the third largest city in Canada. And there's one machine. It travels the province like a roving minstrel. It wasn't due back in Vancouver for 6 more weeks. I passed the stone two days later. Thank God.

The brother-in-law I spoke to tonight is an interesting story. Seems his tonsils reached the point, about 3 years ago, when they simply could not do their job anymore. In fact, they began to cause serious infections. So serious that, more than once, he had to be rushed to the hospital, and kept for several days. He required IV for fluids, and for drug delivery, while in the hospital -- and was listed as critical on both occasions. The doctor informed him he required a tonsillectomy as soon as possible. Until he got his tonsillectomy, there would be, he was assured, more hospital visits. The first available date for him -- a guy in his 20s -- was two years away. For 9 months, in order to stave off infection, he did an outpatient plan where he went to the hospital 3 times a day, every day, to receive treatment via IV. (Once every 8 hours.) A week on the plan, a week off. Doesn't seem like a cheap, or pleasant, experience to me, but what do I know? Luckily, his tonsillectomy got fast-tracked, and he was able to get it after only 9 months of this regimen. Nine freakin' months. Makes the expense of ice cream and cowboy pajamas, and the week of quiet, back when I was five and had my tonsils out, seem -- I dunno -- quaint.

I have a lot of stories like this. More than I can write here, and way more than you'll read. And I only lived there three years. Stories about my wife, her mom, more brother-in-law stories, some pretty scary ones about my kids, and a particularly sad one about my wife's grandmother. Most aren't life and death -- the grandmother one is -- but all of them illustrate a health care system that's inefficient, and reduces choice -- because it's run as a government bureaucracy. I tell the funnier ones because there are plenty of truly scary ones already out there. I didn't want to be accused by the YouTube lady at the White House of spreading disinformation. Hey, this is comedy. Of sorts. I do want to tell one more story, though. Because it illustrates how socialized health care -- socialism in general -- reaches beyond the doctor's office:

One night when my son was six months old, he had a raging fever that went beyond normal baby fever. My boy is, well, feverish, so it wasn't a completely unusual thing -- but this one was unusually high, and climbing. Unfortunately, we were out of Infant Tylenol, which had shown past success in bringing his fever down. So I went to the store to get some. Now, we lived in a suburb, about an hour from downtown Vancouver. It was about 9:30 p.m., so the only nearby store that was open where I could buy Infant Tylenol was the big Safeway, which had a good pharmacy. When I got to the cold medicines isle, I found that the Tylenol, including Infant Tylenol, was locked up behind a plexiglass door on the shelf. I was no stranger to locked OTC medicines -- I've lived in New York and Miami, and I know that people steal stuff. Especially drugs. So i asked the clerk if she could unlock it so I could buy some Infant Tylenol. She looked at me like I was from Mars.

"Oh, no, Hon -- the pharmacist has gone home. She leaves at 9:00. She has to be here for us to sell it."

Well, that's a stupid rule, I thought. And I said so. But, it's not a rule, she assured me. It's the law in BC. That's right -- the law. Never mind that even if the pharmacist had been in the store, she wouldn't have a clue what I was buying -- or even that I exist -- because when she's there, it's unlocked, and it's four isles away from where she works. You can buy it at a regular register. That is, as long as the pharmacist is in the building. Why? Because somebody might have a question. This is Infant Tylenol, for cryin' out loud! What is there to ask?

We ended up calling an ambulance when my son's fever reached 103F (still can't do Celsius) and continued to climb. We had an emergency room visit, where, you got it -- Infant Tylenol -- brought the fever down, and he was ok in an hour. Well, thank goodness we took the economically efficient way out of that one. The Tylenol at the Safeway might have cost us $25 or $30 (remember all those taxes...). But the ambulence and the ER were FREE. Well, ok, the Canadians paid for it somehow.....

Incensed, I went back to Safeway the next day to see what, exactly, I can't buy when there's no pharmacist on site. Cold medicines, of course, can be dangerous, so what else is too dangerous for people without proper guidance? Turns out most anything with any kind of medicine in it. Tegrin Medicated Shampoo, is, apparently, dangerous. So is Oxy-10 facial scrub. And the list goes on, and on, and on. It's funny, in a very sad kind of way. Socialized medicine leads to socialized over-the-counter medicine, which leads to socialized zit medicine. It, itself -- socialism, I mean -- is a disease.

I know this post is long. But the stories are worth repeating. Because the issue is big, and it's complex, and it has unintended, and intended consequences. Our elected representatives don't want to read the bill, because they don't want to know, or hear about those consequences. Or because they do know, and they believe those consequences are perfectly acceptable, in the name of increased control of our choices, and our lives. I won't pretend that the US health care system is perfect. It's not. But it's a hell of a lot better than what exists in Canada. And anyone who tells you different is either lying, or just plain wrong.
For older posts on the subject of Canadian health care, look here and here.

Thought for Today

"To be ignorant of what occurred before you were born is to remain always a child."

~~~~~ Cicero

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Rabinowitz on Obama & Co.

The Wall Street Journal's Dorothy Rabinowitz is always worth reading. Her latest column, Obama’s Tone-Deaf Health Campaign, is a deadly accurate diagnosis of what ails the Obamessiah's health care reform campaign. Here's how she begins:
It didn’t take chaotic town-hall meetings, raging demonstrators and consequent brooding in various sectors of the media to bring home the truth that the campaign for a health-care bill is, to put it mildly, not going awfully well. It’s not hard now to envision the state of this crusade with just a month or two more of diligent management by the Obama team—think train wreck. It may one day be otherwise in the more perfect world of universal coverage, but for now disabilities like the tone deafness that afflicts this administration from the top down are uninsurable.

Consider former ABC reporter Linda Douglass—now the president’s communications director for health reform—who set about unmasking all the forces out there “always trying to scare people when you try to bring them health insurance reform.” People, she charged, are taking sentences out of context and otherwise working to present a misleading picture of the president’s proposals. One of her key solutions to this problem—her justly famed message encouraging citizens to contact the office at if they got an email or other information about health reform “that seems fishy”—set off a riotous flow of online responses. (The word “fishy,” with its police detective tone, would have done the trick all by itself.)

These commentaries, packed with allusions to the secret police, the East German Stasi and Orwell, were mostly furious. Others quite simply hilarious. Ms. Douglass, who now has, in her public appearances, the air of a person consigned to service in a holy order, was not amused.
If our rookie president were to listen to such criticisms, learn from them, and modify his approach accordingly, he might actually get somewhere. Fortunately for the citizenry, he is far too arrogant, stubborn, and solipsistic for that. Or, as Dorothy Rabinowitz so eloquently describes him,
The president has a problem. For, despite a great election victory, Mr. Obama, it becomes ever clearer, knows little about Americans. He knows the crowds—he is at home with those. He is a stranger to the country’s heart and character.
By all means, go read the whole thing.

An Excellent Judge of Character

Thought for Today

"Life is tough, but it's tougher when you're stupid."

~~~~~ John Wayne

Monday, August 10, 2009

Thought for Today

"Perseverance is more prevailing than violence; and many things which cannot be overcome when they are together yield themselves up when taken little by little."

~~~~~ Plutarch

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Banning of Pre-1985 Children's Books

It seems that relatively few people are aware that as of February, 2009, it has become illegal to distribute children's books printed before 1985. The Washington Post wrote a comprehensive story about it last March 24th, Book Dealers Told to Get The Lead Out by Michael Birnbaum, but the rest of the mainstream media, even including the New York Times, ignored it.

Now, we're stuck in a classic, Kafka-esque example of the Law of Unintended Consequences. Unless they are willing to spend $300 to $600 per book to ascertain that its lead content is within safe limits, no one can legally do anything with a pre-1985 children's book except throw it away. The penalty has been set by law as a fine of up to $100,000 for each violation.

Meanwhile, no one has yet come up with a single case in which exposure to a pre-1985 book has ever caused any child to develop an elevated blood lead level, much less a case of lead toxicity.

Walter Olson, a senior fellow of the Manhattan Institute, has written an excellent discussion of the problem for The City Journal, The New Book Banning. He has also posted about it several times on his personal blog, Overlawyered, most notably here: CPSIA and Vintage Books. For all of his posts on the subject since February 24, 2009, including dozens of links to other useful resources, click here.

Among Walter Olson's many excellent links is this outstanding article in The New Atlantis magazine by Elizabeth Mullaney Nicol, Keeping Books Safe: A Bad Law Threatens Our Past. Here are Olson's comments on the article in Overlawyered, CPSIA and books: “A bad law threatens our past”.

More recently, Jonathan Adler, Professor of Law at Case Western Reserve University and one of the group responsible for The Volokh Conspiracy blog, posted The End of Vintage Kids' Books?

The CPSIA law itself is immensely complex, leaving its enforcement open to considerable bureaucratic discretion and arbitrary caprice. As you will learn, to date, no one has been able to get reliable information on exactly what the law means in given situations. In fact, the CPSC's Guide to the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) for Small Businesses, Resellers, Crafters and Charities (PDF) is quite nebulous about precisely which measures are necessary to assure compliance in a given situation. Compliance would be difficult enough in a large organization with a separate Compliance Department. In a tiny one- or two-person business, it would be an impossibility.

At the time it was passed and signed into law, few realized the devastating effects of this new law. By November of 2008, though, the word had begun to circulate among libraries, dealers in used books, small manufacturers of children's toys, and thrift shops. Many of these people deluged the Consumer Products Safety Commission with thousands of justified, well-documented complaints. As a result, on January 30, the CPSC issued a stay postponing enforcement of the law for one year. However, there is far less to the stay than there seemed to be at first glance. It merely affects the enforcement of the law, not the requirements for compliance with its standards. In other words, its practical effect is more to agree to look the other way for a year – to relieve the CPSC of responsibility for policing violations of the law – than to excuse businesses from compliance.

For example, while the CPSC will not prosecute a used book seller until 2010, and that seller is not obligated to test his books for lead content, he is nevertheless obligated to insure that all of the books he sells after 10 February 2009 do not exceed the 600 ppm lead level which went into effect on that date. How he is supposed to be certain of compliance in the absence of testing, as well as what may happen to him in 2010, are left to his imagination.

A few days ago, I posted about this issue on the forum at Distributed Proofreaders. One respondent, who does not seem to comprehend the seriousness of the problem or the lack of any scientific justification for this book ban, wrote:
According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, the agency charged with enforcing the act, lead in the books' inks could make its way into the mouths of little kids.
My reply to her was as follows:
Let's apply a modicum of common sense here, please.

First, we do not need an agency of the U.S. Government to tell us that anything that will fit can make its way into the mouths of little kids, as well as into their nostrils, ears, and other body orifices. Just ask any pediatrician. But does that mean, for instance, that just because dried beans can make their way up children's nostrils and require surgical extraction, we should outlaw dried beans?

Second, even in the unlikely event that a child were to ingest several entire pages from an old book at once, the dose of lead he would absorb even under a worst-case scenario is orders of magnitude below that which would cause toxicity.

Modern testing methods have become so exquisitely sensitive that we can now detect a minuscule trace amount of nearly anything anywhere. However, it's important to maintain one's perspective in evaluating those test results. We should not jump to the unwarranted conclusion that barely detectable trace amounts of toxic substances ought to be of just as much concern as physiologically significant amounts which are orders of magnitude greater. Indeed, certain minerals -- not lead, but, for example, selenium, are essential nutrients in trace amounts, but deadly poisons in higher doses. "The dose makes the poison."

CDC considers a blood lead level of 10 µg/dL or greater to be significant in children. Its recent data indicates that since the late 1970s, average blood lead levels in children have dropped approximately 80%, essentially to the background level of between 2 and 3 µg/dL. The remaining pockets of high blood lead levels in children occur in those living in poor urban areas, in old housing, and in conditions of rank poverty.

Bottom line: While there are still a few areas of the U.S. in which children may have unacceptably high blood lead levels, there has never been any association ever demonstrated between high blood levels in children and exposure to books printed before 1985. Destroying those books will not help those unfortunate children at all. On the other hand, though, destroying them will most assuredly deprive future generations of children of the cultural enrichment they might have absorbed by reading those books.

While it's true that SOME of the old books have been reprinted in new, guaranteed lead (and phthalate)-free editions, for economic reasons, most have not and are not likely to be. In addition, most of these newly reprinted books have not been reproduced in their original form. Instead, they have been re-edited – bowdlerized, rendered politically correct, and thoroughly disinfected of any language that might possibly cause offense to one of the many professional offense-taking groups out there. In many cases, even the original illustrations are replaced by balanced, politically correct substitutes. Therefore, these reprinted versions cannot possibly convey the same experience as the originals did when we read them as children.

I thought it was interesting that in a post on the topic of the CPSIA and its effect on children's books and toys, ShopFloor blogger Carter Wood linked to the Project Gutenberg text of the classic 1922 Margery Williams Bianco story The Velveteen Rabbit. He considers it an allegory to the CPSIA situation:
The Velveteen Rabbit captures so well the horrible, even cruel effects of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act, which has led to destroyed toys and children’s books. Excerpt:
And so the little Rabbit was put into a sack with the old picture-books and a lot of rubbish, and carried out to the end of the garden behind the fowl-house. That was a fine place to make a bonfire, only the gardener was too busy just then to attend to it. He had the potatoes to dig and the green peas to gather, but next morning he promised to come quite early and burn the whole lot.

As he so often does, Mark Steyn came up with one of the most succinct explanations of why this book banning is so wrong that I have yet seen:
A nation’s collective memory is the unseen seven-eighths of the iceberg. When you sever that, what’s left just bobs around on the surface, unmoored in every sense.

Last March, James Lileks, the Minneapolis Star-Tribune's great columnist and blogger, wrote Whoa! Lock up those kids' books chock full o' lead, including this great line:
The law seems to presume that children, having read and enjoyed a beloved story, will eat it.
It's hard to believe that something like this could happen under the radar in this once-free country, but nevertheless, it has. Now, we must do what we can to cope with this new reality.

Members of the public who have learned about CPSIA and its many (presumably) unintended consequences have been deluging the CPSC with angry complaints. In truth, though, their complaints are misdirected; the Commission's hands are tied. The language of the law is so specific and so strict that it leaves the Commission very little room to exercise any degree of discretion, to say nothing of common sense. The only way that we will ever get relief from this onerous, nightmarish new law is to insist to our Senators and Representatives that they act to amend it as soon as Congress reconvenes. Time is truly of the essence. 10 February 2010, when the one-year stay (itself of questionable legality) expires and the CPSC begins full enforcement, will be here before we know it.

8/9/09 19:30 CDT UPDATE and BUMP:
Commenter Wacky Hermit was kind enough to inform me about this useful site, What is the CPSIA?, which deals with the broader effects of the CPSIA, and doesn't concentrate solely on books.

Thought for Today

"Nature creates ability; luck provides it with opportunity."

~~~~~ François de La Rochefoucauld

Friday, August 7, 2009

Thought for Today

"Compromise is never anything but an ignoble truce between the duty of a man and the terror of a coward."

~~~~~ Reginald Wright Kaufman

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Thought for Today

"Jazz will endure as long as people hear it through their feet instead of their brains."

~~~~~ John Philip Sousa

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Thought for Today

"Instead of giving money to found colleges to promote learning, why don't they pass a constitutional amendment prohibiting anybody from learning anything? If it works as good as the Prohibition once did, why, in five years we would have the smartest race of people on earth."

~~~~~ Will Rogers

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Thought for Today

"Have you ever been out for a late autumn walk in the closing part of the afternoon, and suddenly looked up to realize that the leaves have practically all gone? And the sun has set and the day gone before you knew it – and with that a cold wind blows across the landscape? That's retirement."

~~~~~ Stephen Leacock

Monday, August 3, 2009

A Truly Revealing Moment

Thomas Lifson of the American Thinker brings us this remarkable moment in his story Obama's revealing body language. It's particularly meaningful to me because like Professor Gates, I, too, must walk with a cane. I know all too well what a challenge it is to negotiate a set of steps without a handrail – and how welcome someone's strong, steady arm is under such circumstances.

While his "friend" Obama strides ahead oblivious, Prof. Gates understandably hesitates because he knows all too well that one misstep can send him sprawling face-first onto the concrete steps. Sgt. Crowley quickly realizes his problem, and despite the fact that Prof. Gates had recently slandered him as a racist cop who singles out blacks for mistreatment, offers his arm. As we can see, Prof. Gates gratefully accepts.

Why does Sgt. Gates unhesitatingly offer his arm to this man who had caused him so much unwarranted grief? Because he is a class act – a trained professional and, above all, a kind, decent human being who saw Prof. Gates not as an embittered black activist, but as a fellow human being in need of assistance.

So why didn't President Obama offer Prof. Gates his own arm, or at least arrange for someone else to assist him down the steps? Because at heart, he is a piece of dog squeeze – a thoughtless, vain, arrogant, pompous, self-absorbed excuse for a human being.

And as for you Obamabots who take offense at my words, and who make excuses for their man's atrocious behavior – "You really have to cut him some slack because he's the President, and he's a busy man" or some similar rot – ponder the contrast between Obama's behavior toward his friend and this other president's behavior, under similar circumstances, to a political adversary, the frail, elderly Sen. Robert Byrd.
Hat tips to Thomas Lifson, fellow AT blogger Clarice Feldman for updating his post with the Bush-Byrd picture, and Glenn Beck for widely disseminating this story.

Grimly Amusing Misplaced Modifier

The increased incidence of misplaced modifiers in the popular media is a bit of a sore point with me. Sometimes, they're good for a chuckle. Far too often, though, they completely change the meaning of a sentence.

Consider these examples:

I only love her.
I love only her.

You just can't eat one.
You can't eat just one

In both cases, due to the different placement of a single word, the first and second variants have totally different meanings.

The British tabloid The Sun, which presumably ought to know better (after all, English is their mother tongue), informs us that an "Aide 'killed' Jacko with Demerol hit as Doctor Murray slept."

It's just one more segment of a sad and tragic story, of course, but if you look about halfway down in The Sun's article, you'll find this gem:
Dr Murray is said to have told Los Angeles police about administering Propofol two days after Jacko died on June 25.

Sun editors, did Dr. Murray really administer the Propofol two days after his patient died? Is it possible that you meant to tell us that "Two days after Jacko died on June 25, Dr Murray is said to have told Los Angeles police about administering Propofol?"

Sen. Alexander Nailed!

If you haven't yet seen it, you NEED to read Erick Erickson's incisive – and all too accurate – Redstate post about our Senior Senator, Lamar Alexander Plays Lapdog to Barbara Boxer and Endorses Government Mandated, Tax-Payer Funded Abortion. It includes this truly memorable description which well and truly describes the once-promising Boy Wonder politician:
... feckless crapweasel and serial capitulator
If nothing else, Lamar has definitively disproven Darwin's Theory of Evolution. Lamar has devolved from a universally praised moderately conservative two-term Tennessee governor with a promising future – some of us even dared dream of a future Alexander presidency – to a – well, feckless crapweasel. Lately, his principal concerns seem to be the betrayal of his constituents and the undermining of the principled conservatives among his (nominal) party's membership.

Read Erick's column and you'll undoubtedly agree.

Thought for Today

This one's for the Global Warmists among us:
"For a successful technology, reality must take precedence over public relations, for Nature cannot be fooled."

~~~~~ Richard Feynman

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Thought for Today

"The quickest way to get money into this economy is not to take it in the first place."

~~~~~ Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN) on today's Fox News Sunday during a discussion of the effectiveness of the Obama stimulus package vs. tax cuts and governmental spending discipline in ending the recession

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Thought for Today

"Early in my business career I learned the folly of worrying about anything. I have always worked as hard as I could, but when a thing went wrong and could not be righted, I dismissed it from my mind."

~~~~~ Julius Rosenwald

Friday, July 31, 2009

Thought for Today

[Speaking of the American Indians] "No group has been more taken care of by the government – and no group is in worse shape."

~~~~~ John Stossel, appearing on the Glenn Beck TV program of July 30, 2009

Letter to Citizens for Responsible Government

Here is a letter I just sent to Citizens for Responsible Government, a group with expertise on the right of recall.
Hi ---

Would you have any suggestions on how we can start the process of seeking the right of recall of statewide officers in Tennessee?

As of now, all we have is the right of referendum on measures originated by the legislature. There is no provision for either initiative or recall. The predictable result is that our governors (with 4-year terms) and U.S. Senators (with 6-year terms, of course) invariably run as freedom-loving, fiscally responsible conservatives, then proceed to do as they please once they are safely elected to office.

For example, earlier today, Senator Lamar Alexander announced his intention, in direct defiance of the wishes of the vast majority of his constituents, to vote in favor of the confirmation of Sonia Sotomayor to a seat on the U.S. Supreme Court.

In addition, I received a form letter from him last week in response to a contact I made with his office regarding the pending cap-and-trade legislation. In it, he made plain that despite mounting evidence to the contrary being reported by hundreds of qualified climatologists, he believes the Global Warmist pseudo-religious doctrine holding that "human activity is having a significant impact on global temperature increases" (his words). Thus, instead of opposing on principle the idea of passing any sort of legislation attempting to restrict our carbon dioxide output – and therefore our economy and our standard of living – he is merely quibbling over the timing and severity of the measures he is planning to vote in favor of imposing. (Thank goodness he has also – finally, after decades of unnecessary delay – come out in favor of constructing a large number of new, modern nuclear power plants. Here, though, he appears to be doing the right thing for the wrong reason: he likes nuclear plants not primarily because they provide huge amounts of safe, clean, economical electricity, but because they produce no carbon dioxide!)

Sen. Alexander was re-elected against token opposition in 2008. Therefore, he knows that his seat is safe until 2014. Undoubtedly, he thinks that his constituents are so stupid that by the time he runs for re-election, we will have forgotten all about his numerous votes in opposition to our interests. He probably plans to don his old plaid shirt and travel throughout our 95 counties once again masquerading as a reliably conservative man of the people.

Other than recall, a tool which is not available to us, I can think of no method we can use to exert any sort of influence upon faithless officials such as Sen Alexander. Phoning, writing, faxing, and emailing him seem to have no effect whatsoever other than the triggering of form reply letters such as the one I received last week. The Tennessee Legislature is most unlikely to originate any legislation granting us the right of recall. Can you suggest any means by which we might achieve it in spite of them?

Thank you in advance.
Morton A. Goldberg, DVM
Lebanon, TN 37087
(615) xxx-xxxx home
(615) xxx-xxxx cell

Crazy? Foolish? Futile?

Maybe all of the above, but we have nearly lost control of our country, and we have to start somewhere to take it back.

7/31/09 12:25 AM UPDATE: That was quick! I received a very thorough reply from Chris Kliesmet of CRG within 38 minutes. It turns out that he will be in my area this weekend, and has offered to meet with us. More later.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

A Woman Does What a Woman's Gotta Do

Carroll woman's answer to highly visible Obama: Selling her televisions
A 78-year-old Carroll [Iowa] woman says she's so tired of seeing President Barack Obama on the airwaves that she's selling her television sets - two of them.

Deloris Nissen, a retired nurses' aide and former Kmart employee who was raised on a farm near Audubon, placed a classified advertisement with The Daily Times Herald for Friday's paper.

In the $5.50 ad, Nissen tells readers she has two television sets for sale.

The reason: "Obama on every channel and station."
I know the feeling!

Thought for Today

"Do for others with no desire of returned favor. We all should plant some trees we'll never sit under. Do good by stealth, and blush to find it fame."

~~~~~ Alexander Pope

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Thought for Today

"Capitalism and communism stand at opposite poles. Their essential difference is this: The communist, seeing the rich man and his fine home, says: "No man should have so much." The capitalist, seeing the same thing, says: 'All men should have as much.'"

~~~~~ Phelps Adams

Liberal Eyes

Zack Rawthorne of Diversity Lane is on a roll! Here's his latest effort:

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

"It's a Wonderful Life" Redux

In case you haven't already seen it elsewhere, here's the must-watch video of CNN reporter Don Lemon interviewing three of Cambridge, Massachusetts Police Sgt. Michael Crowley's fellow officers. While Sgt. Crowley, choked with emotion, watches mutely, the CNN reporter speaks in turn with Sgt. Leon Lashley, an unidentified policeman, and Officer Kelly King. The reporter, Sgt. Lashley (who was on the scene at the Henry Louis Gates incident), and Officer King all happen to be black.

The interview brings to mind the climactic scene from It's a Wonderful Life, when George stands there speechless as his friends and family stream in with piles of money to save Bailey Building and Loan from the clutches of the venal Mr. Potter – it's actually that heartwarming. Sgt. Crowley, who, like George, seems like an idealistic individual who has always tried to treat others as he himself would like to be treated, stands there with tears welling up in his eyes as one after another, his fellow officers vouch for his character.

Officer Kelly King is particularly noteworthy. Most of us have never heard of her before. Undoubtedly, this is the first time in her life that she has ever addressed millions of people. She speaks straight from the heart, with no prepared script – and no teleprompter, yet she displays not a trace of nervousness. On the contrary, her eloquence and sincerity cause her words to have a far greater impact than those of any "hired gun" professional speechwriter. She even speaks in whole paragraphs, with nary an "umm" or an "uhh."

The eminent Henry Louis Gates would undoubtedly be Mr. Potter. However, we can take the "It's a Wonderful Life" parallel only so far. Despite his premeditated effort to inject himself into the controversy, there does not appear to be a meaningful role in this plot for our rookie President. His ill-considered remarks at his infamous press conference have boomeranged. The mud he aimed at Sgt. Crowley has somehow flown right back and splattered all over him. Now, in an attempt to extricate himself from his self-made mess as gracefully as possible, he has grasped gratefully at a lifeline thrown to him by the gentlemanly Sgt. Crowley. We are given to understand that the scheduled White House tête-à-tête over beers with His Eminence, Professor Henry Louis Gates, to be moderated (refereed?) by President Obama, was Sgt. Crowley's idea.

Watch – and be thankful that once in a while, just as in the movies, the good guys win at the end.